Speaking to FNA in an exclusive interview, Marzieh Hashemi said she is an activist and she has the responsibility of fighting for the oppressed, whether she returns to the US or from elsewhere.
Marzieh Hashemi is an American-born Muslim convert who has lived in Iran for years. She was detained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at an airport in Saint Louis on January 13th and transferred to FBI facilities in Washington DC. She was forced to remove her hijab and was only offered non-halal food during detention. A US federal court failed to indict her, and she was released after 10 days without any charges.
Below you may read the full text of the interview:
Q: Arresting you sounded like a miscalculation of the US authorities. What do you think was the worst consequence of this misconduct?
A: I do not think they had really realized that it was a risk. They knew I work for Press TV, but I do not think that they expected global action the way that it took place. I do not think there would be any ways that they can assess that, or could have thought that my arrest would get that type of reaction. Thus, if you think that they sounded anxious at court and looked anxious, I think it is because of the reactions that they got that they did not expect, and then really did not know how to handle it at that point in time.
Q: Considering this, will you ever return to the US? If so, would you pursue political activities?
A: I will continue to be an activist as I have been all my adult life. I will continue to fight for the rights of people all over the world. I will return to the US or not, I'm not sure. I was not charged with anything; so, I should be able to go there; but whether I feel like going back there or not, it is a different story. I can tell you I do not feel like it right now. I do not know the future. If I am there or wherever I am, I am always active. Because I am an activist and I feel it is my responsibility to fight for of the oppressed Mostazafeen wherever I am.
Q: Based on your experience, how do you assess the status of freedom of rights/speech in the US?
A: The status of human rights and rights of free speech in the US has changed a lot. We know from the US constitution that technically we are supposed to have freedom of speech and various other rights. This was never absolute; there were clauses to it more or less. So, when the constitution was originally written, even then the freedom of speech, and human rights were not across the board. That was not for females; that was not for black people. So it's always been a qualified freedom. However, after the 9/11 attacks, I think that it has got even more controlled. They use other methods from alleged terrorism to control various freedoms. When you have a capitalist country, that is basically not only capitalist, but also now turning to oligarchy, because the reality is just a few individuals, a few families have all the wealth and own the country. The whole country has to work towards their goals. So, if they are in the weapons industry that you will see a push, as you see in the US for example, to keep weapons to make sure that they can be sold or to make the war machines which are very well-equipped. If you are trying to work against their goals, you are going to pay a price. If you try to educate the people, if you try to make the people aware of what is going on, why the US is getting involved in all these wars, not because of protecting anyone, or spreading freedom all over the world, but actually the opposite: to control and basically support this oligarchy, they are getting as much wealth as they can for the few individuals at the top, it is not for the country, though. So, everything is qualified. It depends on what you are saying, to whom you are saying, and how much you are saying, as far as how much freedom or if you are allowed to speak at all. If you are saying something against the interests of the wealthy, of the oligarchs, or if what you are saying is going to have an effect on others, you would definitely be stopped in various ways.